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Fireworks can be fun yet dangerous

Posted: 5:32 AM, Jul 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-04 06:32:38-04

Fireworks and sparklers are fun to light up during this holiday, but are they worth an emergency room visit?

Many people consider fireworks to be harmless fun, when in fact, they can be extremely dangerous.

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“People should really wear eye protection goggles or even sunglasses to help their eyes in case of any potential injuries. Other things they can do is make sure when they are lighting the fireworks, they are not leaning directly over the firework, and staying back and not putting their face over the firework. And also, if the firework does not light, do not try and reignite it,” said Corpus Christi Medical Center Trauma Program Director Jennifer Carr.

Studies show in 2017 there were nearly 13,000 emergency room injuries with about 9,000 people being treated between June 16th and July 16th. The majority of those injuries resulted from simple sparklers, which can cause a third-degree burn.

“The temperature for a sparkler can be 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and that can cause serious burns. Over the years, I have seen lots of injuries just from sparklers that can cause burns to people’s faces, eyes, and their hands,” said Carr.

More than 69 percent of the fireworks-related injuries in 2016 were burns, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

“Seventy percent of fireworks injuries are actually burns. Thirty-three percent of those are to the face, neck, head, and ears. Another large percentage is to the hands. Most injuries occur to the hands and the face area,” said Carr.

So how do you save yourself from ending up in the ER?

“No fireworks inside, no fireworks with unsupervised children, no fireworks in your pocket or putting them in a glass container. No fireworks pointing at anybody. It can be fun, but it can be very dangerous,” said Carr.

Remember to think while using fireworks and be prepared for every situation as we celebrate our nation’s birthday with a bang.

Safety tips when using fireworks

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Fireworks Safety Tips from the national Council on Fireworks Safety

  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.

And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!

  • Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
  • If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
  • Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
  • Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.